Page images

and the following highly-interesting documents relating to them, which are in the possession of Mr. Mayer, and to whom the antiquarian world is indebted for first making them public, will be read with interest:

“I, John Sadler, of Liverpoole, in the county of Lancaster, printer, and Guy Green, of Liverpoole, aforesaid, printer, severally maketh oath that on Tuesday, the 27th day of July instant, they, these deponents, without the aid or assistance of any

other person or persons, did within the space of six hours, to wit, between the hours of nine in the morning and three in the afternoon of the same day, print upwards of twelve hundred Earthenware tiles of different patterns, at Liverpoole aforesaid, and which, as these deponents have heard and believe, were more in number and better and neater than one hundred skilful pot-painters could have painted in the like space of time, in the common and usual way of painting with a pencil; and these deponents say that they have been upwards of seven years in finding out the method of printing tiles, and in making tryals and experiments for that purpose, which they have now through great pains and expence brought to perfection.

" John SADLER,

GUY GREEN. “ Taken and sworn at Liverpoole, in the county of Lancaster, the second day of August, one thousand seven hundred and fiftysix, before William Statham, a Master Extraordinary in Chancery."

We, Alderman Thomas Shaw and Samuel Gilbody, both of Liverpoole, in the county of Lancaster, clay potters, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do hereby humbly certifye that we are well assured that John Sadler and Guy Green did, at Liverpoole aforesaid, on Tuesday, the 27th day of July last past, within the space of six hours, print upwards of 1,200 earthenware tiles of different colours and patterns, which is upon a moderate computa

a tion more than 100 good workmen could have done of the same patterns in the same space of time by the usual painting with the pencil. That we have since burnt the above tiles, and that they are considerably neater than any we have seen pencilled, and may be sold at little more than half the price. We are also assured the said John Sadler and Guy Green have been several years in bringing the art of printing on carthenware to perfection, and we never INVENTION OF PRINTING ON EARTHENWARE, ETC.


heard it was done by any other person or persons but themselves. We are also assured that as the Dutch (who import large quantities of tiles into England, Ireland, &c.) may by this improvement be considerably undersold, it cannot fail to be of great advantage to the nation, and to the town of Liverpoole in particular, where the earthenware manufacture is more extensively carried on than in any other town in the kingdom ; and for which reasons we hope and do not doubt the above persons will be indulged in their request for a patent, to secure to them the profits that may arise from the above useful and advantageous improvement.

“ THOMAS Suaw,

“Liverpoole, August 13th, 1756.


"John Sadler, the bearer, and Guy Green, both of this town, hare invented a method of printing potters' earthenware tyles for chimneys with surprising expedition. We have seen several of their printed tyles, and are of opinion that they are superior to any done by the pencill, and that this invention will be highly advantageous to the kingdom in generall, and to the town of Liverpoole in particular.

" In consequence of which, and for the encouragement of so useful and ingenious an improvement, we desire the favour of your interest in procuring for them his Majesty's letters patent.


“ CHARLES GOORE. " Addressed to Charles Pole, Esq., in London.”

In Mr. Mayer's magnificent museum are found, among other invaluable treasures, some enamels on copper bearing impressions from copper-plates transferred on to them, and having the name of “ J. Sadler, Liverp', Enam',” and other examples of enamels and of earthenware with the names of Sadler, Sculp., or of Green. Messrs. Sadler and Green appear to have done a very profitable and excellent business in the printing on pottery. The process was soon found to be as applicable to services and other descriptions of goods as to tiles; and these two enterprising men produced many fine examples of their art, some of which, bearing their names as engravers or enamellers, are still in existence. Josiah Wedgwood, always alive to everything which could tend to improve or render more commercial the productions of his manufactory, although at first opposed to the introduction of this invention, as being, in his opinion, an unsatisfactory and unprofitable substitute for painting, eventually determined to adopt the new style of ornamentation, and arranged with the inventors to decorate such of his Queen's ware as it would be applicable to, by their process.

The work was a troublesome one, and in the then state of the roads-for it must be remembered that this was before the time even of canals in the district, much less of railroads -the communication between Burslem and Liverpool was one of great difficulty. Wedgwood, however, overcame it, and having made the plain body at his works, packed it in waggons and carts, and, I believe, even in the panniers of pack-horses, and sent it to Liverpool, where it was printed by Sadler and Green, and returned to him by the same conveyance, to be, in most cases, finished in his own works.

Adam Sadler died on the 7th of October, 1788, aged eighty-three, and his son John Sadler the 10th of December, 1789, aged sixty-nine, and they were buried at Sefton. Mr. Guy Green continued the business after this date, and printed earthenware for Wedgwood, probably some special patterns only, until as late a date as 1793 or 1794. Examples of Liverpool pottery printed by Sadler and Green, and of Wedgwood's body printed by them, are of uncommon occurrence. In Mr. Mayer's museum, at Liverpool, the best, and indeed only series worthy the name in existence, are to be found. In my own possession, too, are some examples.

Specimens of these early printed goods, bearing Wedgwood's mark, are rare. I select, as an example, a curious teapot, in the possession of Mr. S. C. Hall, F.S.A., which is highly characteristic and interesting.

The teapot bears on one side a remarkably well engraved and sharply printed representation of the quaint subject of



the mill to grind old people young again—the kind of curious machine which one recollects in one's boyish days were taken about from fair to fair by strolling mountebanks—and on the


other an oval border of foliage, containing the ballad belonging to the subject, called “ The Miller's Maid grinding Old Men Young again.” It begins

“Come, old, decrepid, lame, or blind,
Into my mill to take a grind."

The teapot, which is an excellent specimen of blackprinting, is marked WEDGWOOD. In the same superb collection of Wedgwood ware are also other examples of “ Queen's ware,” among which are some plates with flowers painted in red, in simple and pure taste, and true to nature; a centre and sides with fine figures; and a remarkably elegant and beautifully potted whey jug and cover, formerly in my own collection. In the Museum of Practical Geology is an example of this printing, the design on one side of which is a group at tea-a lady pouring out tea for a gentleman, and on the opposite side the verse :

“Kindly take this gift of mine,

The gift and giver I hope is thine;
And tho' the value is but small,

A loving Heart is worth it all.”
In my own possession are, among other pieces of early

Queen's ware, some marked plates which fit with the mechanical nicety so well pointed out by Mr. Gladstone, and a saucer of a pure cream colour, ornamented with a simple green border of foliage between rich red lines. This saucer bears the impressed mark WEDGWOOD, not at the bottom, but on its side.

The centre and side pieces to which I have just alluded, in Mr. Hall's possession (one of the pieces of which is here


engraved), are among the choicest examples now existing of Wedgwood's Queen's ware. The baskets are beautifully

« PreviousContinue »